While thoughts of Awa Odori most commonly conjure up images of those four hot and sweaty nights in the streets of Tokushima each year in August, there is another option available – the Hana Haru Festa.
Flowers and Awa Odori
In 2009 the Hana Haru Festa sees its 12th year running as one of the larger festivals held in Tokushima City throughout the year. Combining the usual festival fare of markets and local produce, the main defining feature of the Hana Haru Festa is that it provides the chance to see Awa Odori during the daytime, the only time in the year when this is possible!
However it is not all just about Awa Odori. The Hana Haru Festa is also home to a large stage area hosting local music and modern dance performances, live radio broadcasts, fashion shows and various other cultural displays run across the three days of the event.
The Shinmachi Bridge
The Shinmachi Bridge and Aibahama Park where the festival is located are places of some historical note for Awa Odori. In olden times, it was forbidden for people to dance outside of the district in town in which they lived. But people being people, ways around this ruling were found, and the Shinmachi Bridge was one of those. Back then, the bridge lay at the edge of two districts, and people from either area would come together to dance there and enjoy the festival together. Even now the Shinmachi Bridge is a major site for the dance as one of the main dancing stages.
All Year Long
Don’t forget, you can see Awa Odori all year long at the Awa Odori Kaikan found in Tokushima City. Not only can you see displays of the dance, but there is also a museum on the 3F (adults 300 yen, junior high school students and below 150 yen) and a library on the 2F (free).